Acetabular labral tears are an area of increasing interest to clinicians involved in the diagnosis of musculoskeletal complaints of the hip. This review systematically evaluated the evidence for the diagnostic accuracy and validity of reported symptoms, physical examination and imaging in this complex population. Studies published in English prior to May 2010 were included. One reviewer searched information sources to identify relevant articles. Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion, extracted data and evaluated quality using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Studies Tool. Twenty one studies were included. Meta-analysis was limited owing to heterogeneity between studies. Results showed Magnetic Resonance Arthrography to consistently outperform Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Computerised Tomography also showed high accuracy levels for the few studies identified. Studies investigating physical tests were of poor quality demonstrating a need for further research in this area. Symptoms likely to be present in patients presenting with acetabular labral tears were found to be anterior groin pain and mechanical hip symptoms; however, additional good quality studies are needed to consolidate findings.
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